Berlin – Brandenburg Gate with The Quadriga above
This was a short-notice trip. A chance to step back a little into my past. Last time I was in Berlin was 2001 – with almost no photos to show for it.
Day One Arrived late in evening. Rode taxi, the standard big cream coloured Mercedes from airport through darkened roads to hotel, the Wyndham Grand. (Hallesche Straße 10, 10963 Berlin). Into marble and polished black stone lobby: a vast, luxurious open plan space leading down to the bar and restaurant area. Checked-in. Dumped bags. Headed out.
Walked up Stresemannstrasse to Brandenburg Gate (20 mins). Memories of 1989, November, the month the Berlin Wall came down and the month I started writing. Air was biting cold and it started to spit rain as I got there – didn’t spoil the atmosphere and did mean almost no tourists.
Nothing prepares you for the raw potency of this place. Not just because of the vast scale and incredible attention to geometry and detail in the structure, but because of the history… you’ve seen this gate a thousand times in black and white show reels. But even before that, when Napoleon took over the city in 1806 and stole the The Quadriga, a statue consisting of the goddess of peace, driving a four-horse triumphal chariot that is mounted above the gate – taking it back to Paris until returned in 1814.